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Rains supportive as Ohio crop progress continues

Timely rains helped some corn and soybean fields last week, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 25. The perimeter of the State received much of the rainfall while counties across the middle of the State received fewer showers. Overall, the State received slightly higher than normal amounts of rainfall. Temperatures and base 50 growing degree days were slightly higher than normal levels as well. Topsoil moisture rated adequate and surplus saw a 2 percentage point increase from the previous week while subsoil moisture rated adequate and surplus saw a 3 point decrease. Corn, soybeans, oats, and hay all continued to lag behind the 5-year average progress in all categories listed. Rainfall was a blessing as 52 percent of corn was in dough stage and 70 percent of soybeans were setting pods. Even with the timely rains, corn rated in good to excellent condition was 31 percentage points below the 5-year average rating and soybeans rated in good to excellent condition was 29 points below the 5-year average rating.

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Ohio Hemp Farm Summit

The Ohio Hemp Farm Summit will be held September 28, at 10 a.m. at the Pickaway County Fairgrounds — 415 Lancaster Pike, Circleville, OH 43113.

Attendees can learn the ins and outs of the hemp industry at this event covering topics from legality, planting, harvesting, processing, packaging, and marketing from industry experts. There will be many vendors present as well. Admission is $4o with pre-registration at Eventbrite eventbrite.com/e/hemp-farm-summit-tickets-63899320588, $45 at the door. Lunch will be provided.

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OABA seeking emerging leaders for eighth LAUNCH class

Tomorrow’s agribusiness leader will need to be nimble and lead change in addressing workforce pressures, consumer demands, and governmental challenges, all while fostering networks and collaborative work styles. Emerging agribusiness leaders can build their skills through LAUNCH — Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights — to rise to the challenges and opportunities facing agribusinesses today and tomorrow.

Hosted by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, in partnership with Shift-ology Communication, the LAUNCH program is geared to help Ohio agribusinesses Elevate People, Elevate Ideas and Elevate the Industry. The program is designed for emerging leaders with a desire to meet higher level goals than the scope of their current position. The course is designed for leaders with all levels of experience — from entry level to seasoned employees — who seek to rise within their company.

“Agribusinesses continually compete with all industries to recruit and retain the best talent, but there is also a need to invest in those who are already passionate about agriculture,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO.

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Russell joins Ohio Ag Net team

The Ohio Ag Net is excited to announce the addition of Dave Russell to the farm broadcasting team. Dave is a veteran farm broadcaster who has served agriculture in Indiana and Ohio for decades.

“Dave brings a wealth of broadcast and agricultural knowledge to the team,” said Bart Johnson, owner of Ohio Ag Net. “I have known Dave for a long time and have always been impressed with his professionalism and his passion for agriculture. I am looking forward to his contributions to the team.”

Russell began at WRFD in Columbus. He has since been a voice for Hoosier agriculture at WOWO in Ft. Wayne, Ind. and the Indiana voice for Tribune Radio Networks. In addition to his career in farm broadcasting, Russell worked in state government, serving as Agricultural Liaison for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and as Director Information/Public Relations for Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. Russell is a familiar emcee at events and for his work announcing cattle shows including the Ohio Beef Expo, Ohio State Fair and several BEST shows.

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Farm Science Review’s Hall of Fame winner chosen

A long-time journalist, communicator, and promoter of the annual Farm Science Review, Suzanne Steel, has been inducted into the 30th class of honorees in the FSR Hall of Fame, where 78 others are honored for their contribution to the event.

For 23 years, Steel worked in the marketing and communications department of the event’s main sponsor, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. During that time, Steel promoted FSR through contacts with national, state, and local media.

FSR will take place this year from Sept. 17–19 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 State Route 38 NE, in London, Ohio. The show offers visitors an opportunity to view the latest in technology and gain insights from CFAES experts about making their operations more profitable.

“Marketing is extremely important to a large public event such as FSR, which Suzanne has championed over the years,” said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager.

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Ohioan among finalists for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists vying to be named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, including Doug Dawson from Delaware, Ohio. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs following the We Care ethical principles and who is committed to sharing their farming story with the American public.

“The finalists do what’s best on their farms every day for people, pigs and the planet,” said National Pork Board President David Newman, a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “The finalists also showcase how diverse family farming is today throughout the United States.”

The other finalists are Chris Hoffman – McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, Josh Linde – Manilla, Iowa and Thomas Titus – Elkhart, Illinois. To help select the winner, the four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago later this month. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.

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Ohio grain farmers invite Toledo mayor to visit

Recent comments by the mayor of Toledo have prompted corn, soybean and wheat farmers throughout Ohio to invite him to witness for himself their hard work and significant investments to protect water quality.

For example, last month, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz told WTOL 11 that Toledo’s water has been “polluted for us” by Ohio farmers. Realizing that the mayor has not been educated about farmers’ leadership on conservation issues, Farmers are using the hashtag #WadeIsWelcome to extend the invitation for a farm tour.

Last week, Mayor Kapszukiewicz told the Toledo Blade, “At some point, facts and research have to matter.” Ohio grain farmers couldn’t agree more. That’s why they are calling, tweeting, and emailing the mayor to invite him to their farms and see exactly how much investment and work has been done to find and implement science-based, long term solutions.

“Ohio’s agricultural community has worked very hard to address water quality,” said Jon Miller, Fairfield grain farmer and president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association.

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USDA report highlights

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

 

What we probably know…

Bean acre surprise

Many were surprised bean planted acres were only 76.7 million, but it actually makes sense because bean prices failed to rally to prices most farmers could be profitable with average yields. It seems that some farmers made a wise financial decision to plant as few bean acres possible.

 

Prevent plant acres

The report showed prevent plant corn acres were 11.2 million corn acres and 4.3 million bean acres. This was the level that many in the trade were expecting over the past month. Some in the trade have tried to suggest that this means that total planted acres were on track to be 101 million acres for corn. It doesn’t appear that was actually what was going to really happen.

It’s my understanding that when applying for prevent plant corn acres, farmers could submit total corn acres equal to the most total corn acres a farmer planted in the last 3 years.

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New guide helps farmland owners considering solar leasing

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Large “utility-scale” solar energy development is on the rise in Ohio. In the past two years, the Ohio Power Siting Board has approved six large-scale solar projects with generating capacities of 50MW or more, and three more projects are pending approval. These “solar farms” require a large land base, and in Ohio that land base is predominantly farmland. Nine new Ohio solar energy facilities will cover about 16,500 acres in Brown, Clermont, Hardin, Highland, and Vinton counties. About 12,300 of those acres were previously used for agriculture.

With solar energy development, then, comes a new demand for farmland: solar leasing. Many Ohio farmland owners have received post cards and letters about the potential of leasing land to a solar energy developer. This prospect might sound appealing at first, particularly in a difficult farming year like this one.

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Farm Service Agency expands payment options

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is expanding its payment options to now accept debit cards and Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit. These paperless payment options enable FSA customers to pay farm loan payments, measurement service fees, farm program debt repayments and administrative service fees, as well as to purchase aerial maps.

“Our customers have spoken, and we’ve listened,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Finding ways to improve customer service and efficiency is important for our farmers, ranchers, producers, and forest landowners who work hard for our nation every day. Now, our customers can make electronic payments instantly by stopping in our offices or calling over the phone.”

Previously, only cash, check, money orders and wires were accepted. By using debit cards and ACH debit, transactions are securely processed from the customer’s financial institution through Pay.gov, the U.S. Treasury’s online payment hub.

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National farm bankruptcies on the rise while Ohio holds steady

Farm bankruptcies across the nation are up, but Ohio’s rate remains among the lowest in the Midwest, according to a new analysis by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Ohio had nine new farm bankruptcy filings from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. That’s compared to 45 in Wisconsin, 39 in Kansas, and 32 in Minnesota — the three states in the nation with the highest number of new filings during that period.

Farm bankruptcies in Ohio have been stable in recent years, with a total of under 10 annually since 2017, said Robert Dinterman, a post-doctoral researcher in agribusiness at CFAES. Dinterman and Ani Katchova, associate professor, analyzed farm bankruptcy trends in the past decade.

Currently, Ohio has 1.2 farm bankruptcies for every 10,000 farms. That’s less than half of the national rate of 2.6 for every 10,000 farms, Dinterman said.

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Threat sullies Pro Farmer Crop Tour

The U.S. Agriculture Department told Reuters it had pulled all staff from Pro Farmer Crop Tour after an employee received a threatening phone call from an upset farmer. The Crop Tour started on Monday and will wrap up later in the week.

At Profarmer.com they had this to say:

We are sad to report a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) employee received a phone threat while on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour from someone not involved with the tour. As a precaution, USDA immediately pulled all their staff out of the event. Federal Protective Services are investigating the incident.

We are taking the threat very seriously and the safety of all those involved in Tour is our top priority. As a precaution, we are taking steps to secure the remaining location venues, adding security personal at the live events as well as asking staff and crop tour scouts to remain aware and report any concerns immediately. 

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POET lowering ethanol production

POET has reduced ethanol production at half of its biorefineries, with the largest drops taking place in Iowa and Ohio. As a result, numerous jobs will be consolidated across POET’s 28 biorefineries and corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels across Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri.

In addition, POET will idle production at its bioprocessing facility in Cloverdale, Ind. The process to idle the plant will take several weeks, after which the plant will cease processing of over 30 million bushels of corn annually.

While there are certainly numerous market factors at play, POET blames the undermining of the Renewable Fuel Standard by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard was designed to increase the use of clean, renewable biofuels and generate grain demand for farmers. Our industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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Stress task force offering help to struggling Ohio farmers

Dairy farmers grapple with slumps in milk prices while the cost of feeding their cows keeps rising. For crop farmers, prices for corn and soybeans remain low, and many growers couldn’t plant either crop this year.

The persistent spring rain created the state’s worst planting year on record and has contributed to a near-record low level of hay to feed livestock in Ohio and across the Midwest.

So much is out of a farmer’s control — weather, commodity and feed prices, a hike in international tariffs on American agricultural goods that has diminished demand for them.

When rain this past spring kept farmers from planting, among the comments that circulated on Facebook was one offering a phone number for a suicide hotline.

Now, perhaps more than ever, farmers might need help with how to keep their businesses afloat, how to find jobs off the farm, how to find clinicians to help deal with mounting frustration or despair that might come with running a business farming the land.

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Animal Agriculture Alliance releases report from 2019 Animal Rights National Conference

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held July 25 through July 28 in Alexandria, Va.

The event was organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Mercy for Animals, The Save Movement, Compassion Over Killing and The Humane League, along with other animal rights extremist groups.

“Animal rights extremists are becoming increasingly aggressive in their efforts to end animal agriculture,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Releasing reports from major activist conferences enables everyone in animal agriculture to prepare for strategies and tactics targeting their livelihood.”

Similar to last year’s conference, speakers made it clear their vision is animal liberation, not promoting animal welfare.

“There is no such thing as humane slaughter and anyone who tells you differently is simply lying,” said Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. Demetria Atkinson of Redefine Your Mind argued, “Animals are people too.” “We need to say that all animal agriculture is cruel and wrong,” said Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns.

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Dairy industry asks U.S. government to swiftly secure strong trade deal with Japan

In an effort organized by the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations today sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to capitalize on the conclusion of Japan’s national elections and quickly finalize a strong trade deal with Japan in order to secure critical market access for the dairy industry here at home.

“Given that Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products, the successful negotiation of a robust trade agreement with Japan will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry and set our industry up on a path to compete effectively there moving forward. Securing robust dairy export opportunities into this overseas market will be critical to restoring confidence for our dairy farmers and processors across the country,” they wrote.

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Disruption in fed beef slaughter

By Stephen R. Koontz, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics — Colorado State University

Tyson’s Finney County, Kansas, facility suffered a fire late Friday, Aug. 9. The good news is that there were no reports of injuries, a testament to the planning and operation of the facility and emergency responders. The bad news — for cattle markets – is that this plant will remain closed indefinitely. The fire is reported to have started in the box shop but major damage – as in a collapsed portion of the roof — was also reported. The Finney County facility is west of Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas, and is a major fed cattle slaughter and boxed beef fabrication plant. The plant slaughters approximately 6,000 head per day and between 27,000 and 30,000 head per week. This is 4.5% to 5% of the national fed cattle slaughter.

The impact of this event on fed cattle markets will be substantial.

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Planting practices affect corn stand, yield

Corn growers attending a recent field day saw firsthand what a difference planting practices can make in a stand of corn, even in a year plagued by wet and cold weather at planting.

On a 10-acre plot on Chillicothe farmer Brian Brown’s farm, growers saw side-by-side trials where row-spacing, ear counts and root systems showed how using optimum downforce settings, planting depths and seed singulation results in more even stands, more kernels and eventually higher yields. For example, dug-up corn plants planted with an automatic downforce system consistently into the moisture layer produced a large, much fuller root system, compared to the narrow root ball resulting from seed being left too shallow in the furrow by a planter with manual, static downforce.

The Aug. 7 event, co-sponsored by Ohio Ag Equipment and Seed Consultants, Inc., with technology and equipment from AGCO, White Planters and Precision Planting, is part of the annual AGCO Crop Tour program.

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Davis joins Ohio Farm Bureau staff

Patty Davis has been named executive assistant for Ohio Farm Bureau’s Strategic Partnerships department, which was recently created to develop and manage key relationships and partnerships within the farm and food sector and with businesses, educators, public officials and others.

Davis has over 20 years of private sector experience as an executive administrative professional, providing executive-level support in a variety of capacities, including service at Limited Logistics and KPMG. Most recently, Davis worked at Blue & Co., LLC in the dual role of executive assistant to the firm managing director as well as office manager.

Davis is involved in the United Way Supplies for Scholars program. She has also taken part in supply and coat drives for East Columbus Elementary School and the KPMG Family for Literacy campaign.

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2019 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour summary

Since last fall, incessant wet weather plagued every sector of Ohio agriculture and made the planting season among the most difficult ever. Ohio’s staggering 1,485,919 acres of prevented planting ground sounds bad, but looked even worse when passing by on the 2019 I-75/I-71 Crop Tour sponsored by AgroLiquid. The many empty fields in the state served as a stark and sobering reminder of the challenging spring throughout Ohio, and especially in the northwest where no farm on the tour planted all of their intended corn acres. Sadly, in many cases, the fields that were planted were not much better off. Much of the corn in northern Ohio was a solid month behind developmentally, making yield estimates very difficult and not much more than educated guesses. Many planting dates north of I-70 were in June, which leaves a long road ahead for the corn crop that had not even finished pollinating.

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